"During my country's (Czechoslovakia) fight with the then world powers like Soviet Union, Germany and Austria we had not courage and caliber to take on them physically.We had to be extraordinary patient against all kind of provocations. Then we started our own way of protest. That was laughing. Laughing at their face. That is what you see in my films and that is why my movies are full of humor," says Oscar award winning Czech filmmaker Jiří Menzel.
Speaking at an event in 21st edition of International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), the well-known Czech film director and theatre director remembered his long fight against the autocratic rule of Communist party in his country, against which he made movies, covered with black humour.
He was in the forefront of the phenomenon called " Czech New Wave” that rose as movement in response to the political and historical reality of Czechoslovakia.
Hi second film Closely Watched Trains gained him the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
During a special conversation with film critic, Shivendra Singh Dungapur, Menzel who stunned the world by his unique combination of humanistic view of the world with sarcasm and provocative cinematography said that he was barred from filmmaking for criticising the communist regime. His iconic movie Larks on a String (1969) was not premiered until 1990 when it won a Golden Bear in Berlin.
It was barred from releasing for long thirty years. The complaint against the movie was that it was an anti-communist film. However, it was released after the Velvet Revolution which took place in 1989. That remained to be one of my movies which people loved the most because of the intense humour in it. Unless we are not able to narrate our story with humour, people can not relate it with their real lifeJiří Menzel
He said he is overwhelmed by seeing the love and affection common people in Kerala show towards film makers. He is the Life Time achievement awardee of 21st IFFK.
He also said that the American director, Woody Allen is his favourite film maker. "His humour sense literally stunned me. And his style of honest story telling is something to be noticed. I owned the art of film making by watching movies from America. But, to be frank, new Hollywood movies disappoint me to the core," he said.
Menzel has made 28 movies. The Don Juans that released in 2013 is his last movie. Apart from Oscar for Closely Watched Trains, he has received nomination for Academy Awards for his My Sweet Little Village. He has been a part of the jury in word famous film festivals like Berlin and Moscow festivals.
The Czech director, however, could not open up with audience since there was not a translator for him. He knows very little English that can not afford him telling about his vast world of cinema.